How to Set the Table Properly

Have you ever learned the proper way to set a table? Elevate your dinner parties by following these easy steps to set the table!

Also check out these other “how to” posts for other tips and tricks:

There are tons of different ways to set the table whether it is for a casual occasion or a fancy dinner party. Each piece of silverware, napkin, and plate has its own designated place and purpose on a dining table! Do you want to look like a pro at your next dinner party for the holidays? Try these easy steps for setting a table the proper way, starting with the basic version!

Basic Dinner Setting

How to Set a Table Properly

  1. Start with a blank canvas.

    Make sure the dining table is completely clean before adding any decorations or details.

  2. Add layers and start from the middle.

    Start with a simple runner down the middle and add in some decor at the center with candles or garland.

  3. Place settings.

    Put place settings at each seat and make sure there is enough for every guest!

  4. Dinner Plate.

    The dinner plate goes in the center of the place setting and everything else going around it.

  5. Silverware.

    This is the hardest part to remember! The order the silverware goes in is the order in which you eat. The fork goes on the left of the plate, then the knife goes on the right, and the spoon goes next to the knife.

  6. Glasses.

    Water glasses go above the knife on the right side of the plate.

  7. Napkins.

    Napkins should be places under the fork on the left side or folded on top of the plate for the guest to put on as they sit down.

Formal Dinner Setting

Are you having appetizers and salad at the dinner? Follow along these steps for a more formal table setting after starting with the basic set up above!

  • Start with the basic set up.
  • Add a smaller salad fork to the left side of the dinner fork.
  • Place the salad bowl on top of the dinner plate.
  • Add a small plate to the left side above the forks.
  • Optional: Place a small butter knife on top of the small plate for bread.

Dinner Party Decorations

Need some inspiration to host a dinner party? Now that you know how to set the table properly, check out these awesome tables I have decorated!

How to Style Holiday Table Decorations

  • First things first – set the table! The most important aspect of your table is that your guests can sit and enjoy their meal comfortably.
  • To create a beautiful tablescape, start with a centerpiece. This can be florals, candles, or something you’ve created on your own, but the idea is that your table could be done with just these 1-2 centerpieces (depending on the length of your table). In the photos below, the pampas in the clear vases were my main focal points.
  • Next, you want to add decor with varying heights – candles are a GREAT way to do this! Candlesticks of all different heights, including tea lights, will add interest to your tablescape.
  • Lastly, add something green! No tablescape is complete without something living – florals or greenery are the perfect addition.

Thanksgiving Tablescape

Summer Table Top Ideas

Adult Dinner Party

Hopefully these easy steps for how to properly set the table are helpful for the next dinner party you plan to host! This is also a great post to reference for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner! You can make the table as formal or as casual you want but it is important to know the easy basics! Happy Holidays!

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